Bulldogs bite too much for Chiefs
By By Chandler Myers
The Freeport Bulldogs were able to shutdown the potent Northview Chiefs running game Friday night as they crushed the Chiefs 42-12 in Bratt to gain a firm grasp on their district lead.
The Chiefs (5-2, 4-2) picked up 171 yards on the ground and a total of 245 yards in the loss, but were unable to capitalize due to two fumbles and two interceptions.
Chiefs head coach Sid Wheatley said his team did not play consistently enough to win against a strong team like Freeport.
"First of all, they have a really good football team," he said. "They ran their offense well, and we made way too many mistake on both sides of the ball to win the game. We didn't have enough consistency and we also had some costly turnovers."
The Bulldogs started the game with a bang as they drove 70 yards in five plays to go ahead 7-0 after a 10-yard run to the end zone.
On the ensuing kick off the Bulldogs did a sky kick, which they were able to land on at the Chiefs 38 yard line.
Freeport's offense was then able to drive to the end zone and run for another touchdown this time from 18 yards out to go up 14-0 with eight minutes left in the first quarter.
Wheatley said not being able to secure the sky kicks in the game proved to be a game changer.
"We got an opportunity to get the ball after they scored, but we were unable to catch that sky kick, which hurt us," he said. "We practiced on that this week, but we were unable to execute what we worked on all week."
Northview's first two possessions were unable to secure any points as they went three-and-out on their first chance with the ball and senior quarterback Brad Lowery threw an interception on the second possession.
Freeport took advantage of the interception and put together a 12-play, 70-yard drive that put them ahead 21-0 in the early stages of the second quarter.
The Chiefs finally got on the scoreboard midway through the second period as the moved the ball 63 yards down the field with junior running back Dustin Yuhasz, who ran for 70 yards on 14 carries and caught one pass for 18 yards and a touchdown, being the workhorse on the drive.
The score came on an 18-yard flea flicker pass from freshman La'Mikal Kyles (13 carries for 75 yards and 1-for-1, 18 yards, and a touchdown) to Yuhasz who snuck behind the Freeport secondary to catch the pass. With that score and a blocked extra point, the Chiefs were down 21-6.
After halftime, it was much of the same for the Chiefs as senior running back Jeremy Jackson fumbled the ball on a 4-yard carry giving the ball to Freeport.
Wheatley said the Chiefs's offense had problems getting off the ball and extending drives.
"Their defensive scheme was really good," he said. "They brought a backside end that was able to disrupt us all night. Our offensive line did not come off the ball well tonight, and we were unable to prolong our drives, and to beat a team like this you have to be able to do that."
The Bulldogs scored on their first drive of the second half going 70 yards and scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run to go ahead 28-6.
Another Chiefs drive ended in heartbreak as the home team pushed 53 yards down the field, but lost the ball again as Kyles tried to extend an 18-yard run into a touchdown, but fumbled.
The teams battled their next two possessions with Freeport coming away with another touchdown early in the fourth quarter to go up 35-6, with the touchdown coming via a 21-yard touchdown run.
Wheatley said his defense just get away from Freeport's blockers to get to the runners who had the ball.
"We got trapped a lot on the inside during misdirection and counters," he said. "We just didn't do a good enough job and were not consistent enough to stop them and win this game."
Two series later the Chiefs put their final touchdown on the board as Kadaris Grice picked up six of his nine yards on a touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Another failed extra point left the Chiefs down 35-12.
Freeport used the strength of their offensive line to push down the field one last time with time winding down to add another touchdown off a 21-yard sprint to the end zone to make the final count 42-12.
Next week, the Chiefs travel to Jay to take on Jay High School. Kick off is at 7 p.m.